Cities in Peru

The following table shows the largest cities in Peru by population (more than 100,000 inhabitants), according to the 2007 national census — the last census held in Peru. Data from 2007 is obviously not ideal, but the census remains the best means of comparing population sizes in Peru’s major cities. You can find future population estimates for Peruvian cities at the Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI) website.

The Largest Cities in Peru by Population

CITY POPULATION Region
Lima and Callao* 8,472,935 Lima and Province of Callao
Arequipa 749,291 Arequipa
Trujillo 682,834 La Libertad
Chiclayo 524,442 Lambayeque
Piura 377,496 Piura
Iquitos 370,962 Loreto
Cusco 348,935 Cusco
Chimbote 334,568 Ancash
Huancayo 323,054 Junin
Tacna 242,451 Tacna
Ica 219,856 Ica
Juliaca 216,716 Puno
Pucallpa 204,772 Ucayali
Sullana 181,954 Piura
Cajamarca 162,326 Cajamarca
Chincha Alta 153,598 Ica
Ayacucho 151,019 Ayacucho
Huánuco 149 210 Huánuco
Puno 120,229 Puno
Tarapoto 117,184 San Martin
Huaraz 100,931 Ancash

*census information from the INEI lists Lima and Callao together as the wider Lima Metropolitan Area

Quick Tip:  If traveling to or from Lima Airport, it is strongly recommended to use the luxury Airport Express Lima  bus to get to or from your hotel. Safer and cheaper than a taxi with no baggage limit as well as Free WiFi and USB chargers onboard, it is ideal for travelers.

As the following map shows, seven of the ten most populous cities in Peru are located in coastal departments to the west of the Andes:

largest cities in peru

The 10 Largest Cities in Peru by Population

Popular Cities in Peru by Foreign Visitors

The following table lists the 12 most visited cities in Peru by foreign tourists according to the BADATUR Peru tourism database. Of the 12 cities, six feature in the list of the 10 largest cities in Peru by population (see map above). For foreign visitors, the city itself isn’t always the main draw: individual tourist attractions located within or near the city are often of greater importance…

RANK CITY Primary Reasons for Visiting
1 Lima Capital city, transport hub, numerous attractions
2 Cusco Former Inca capital, Machu Picchu, numerous archaeological sites
3 Puno Cultural hub, Lake Titicaca
4 Arequipa Colonial city, nearby Colca Canyon
5 Ica Nazca Lines, sandboarding at Huacachina, Pisco brandy
6 Paracas Islas Ballestas
7 Huaraz Huascarán National Park, Cordillera Blanca, climbing, trekking
8 Trujillo Historic city, Chan Chan, Huacas del Sol y de la Luna
9 Puerto Maldonado Jungle tours and lodges
10 Chiclayo Sipán archaeological site, excellent nearby museums (Tumbas Reales, Brüning)
11 Cajamarca Historic highland town, archaeological sites
12 Iquitos Jungle tours and lodges

The six most popular cities in Peru are all located in the southern half of the country (Lima and south of Lima). That’s no great surprise: the southern route is known as the Gringo Trail for good reason.

Quick Tip: Peru Hop, the first Hop on Hop off bus service in Peru, covers the whole South of Peru, including Cusco, Arequipa, Puno and more. You can buy 1 bus pass that covers all your stops for 1 year and picks you up and drops you off wherever you are staying.

Your Favourite Cities in Peru

Out of interest, what are your favourite cities in Peru and why? Do you like the sights and sounds of popular cities like Cusco and Arequipa, or do you have a quirky affection for one of Peru’s less-visited towns or cities? Let us know in the comments box below. Thanks!

If you are interested in booking a trip in your favourite cities in Peru we suggest you check out FindLocalTrips.com a tour comparison website with heaps of info and many of the different options for taking that trip of a lifetime.

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